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Thursday, 05 March 2015 10:46

Brockton poised for new business or not? Featured

Written by BrocktonDave
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The climate for new businesses in Brockton has been hard to predict in the past 10 years.  It has not always been clear which businesses have been welcome and which ones are not.  The case in point is the power plant which is being greenlighted for Oak Hill Way.  Both the pro and anti power plant camps claim that they have the majority of the people’s hearts.  Years ago, there was a hope by a North Shore entrepreneur to open a video game entertainment venue called “Good Time Emporium.”  This venture had public hearings, and there were people who frankly hated it.  This man was going to put an empty warehouse with enormous square footage to use, but there were too many delays and he was unable to secure financing.  The warehouse is used, but not to its full potential.  Now we have talk of a Casino at the Brockton Fairgrounds.  The public seems to like it for the most part, but time will tell.  George Carney, who owns the property, favors putting it to a public vote.  This is good, because if anything the city doesn’t really like to have things thrown down their throat.

 

But what of other business?  What exactly is the business climate of our city?  We have a lot to offer businesses who want to be here.   We have highway access.  We have multiple commuter rail stations.  We have the infrastructure that once supported a booming shoe industry.  We should be able to attract business, right?  Well, that’s a tougher nut to crack.  We have our business real estate tax rate a little out of whack for the region.  The only town near us that has a higher business tax rate is Holbrook, and they have very little interest in building that tax base.  Many small businesses go to surrounding towns, like Easton and others who have lower tax rates.  Some towns have the same business and industrial tax rates as residential.

Greater Brockton Area tax rates

Business tax rates tend to supplement residential tax rates in cities and towns that have a robust business community, but Brockton does not have this situation.  In fact of many small cities in Massachusetts, we have one of the highest business/industrial tax rates and also a very high comparable residential tax rate.  In spite of this, we have shortages in the Police department.  Police being one of the best stalwarts of public safety followed closely by the Fire Department.  What is the problem?  Of cities that have high business tax rates, they also have strong business and industrial presence.  They can afford to be picky and have a high rate.  We do not.  We have empty businesses all over the city.  Many are turned into residences and removed from the rolls as business properties.  Is this the way we want to go? 

Small City tax rates

Businesses use less city services.  They use less Police, Fire, water, and others.  They should be a net gain of revenue to the city.  Not to mention the jobs they create.

 

The power plant and the casino are slated to bring in huge amounts of revenue to the city.  I think we need to carefully dispense with this extra revenue, and not just spend all the money when we get it.  Sure we should spend some on public safety improvements, but we should bolster the business climate in the city by lowering the business real estate tax rates to better compete with surrounding communities.  The casino is going to bring businesses to the Belmont Street corridor, but what of the rest of the city.  It would be nice to have business come back to Main Street.  How about lowering the business rate, but leave the industrial rate where it is?  What are your thoughts Brockton?

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